The Hamilton game plan was simple: smash-mouth football.
Kevin Walters and company executed it flawlessly.
Walters spearheaded a Huskies rushing attack Saturday that crippled Mountain Pointe and led Hamilton to a 31-16 victory Saturday in the Division I state championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Walters rushed for 129 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, but almost wasn’t around for the finish after taking a low hit on the inside of his right knee from Mountain Pointe safety Landry Payne in the second quarter.
His day seemed to be done as Walters couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped to the sideline.
“It was to the point where I had to push it to the side and say, ‘This is the championship game, I have to play for these guys, I can’t let them down,’” he said.
Walters wasn’t going to let an injury rob him of anymore playing time. The senior running back had already missed two games earlier this season with a shoulder injury and missed all of last season with a severe groin injury.
Walters wanted to be on the field as much as possible in the title game because two years ago he didn’t play a down for Desert Ridge, but watched as Hamilton upended the Jaguars in the 2010 title game.
That summer, Walters transferred to Hamilton after his family moved from Apache Junction to lessen the travel time for his father, who works at Intel.
"(Walters) just came and fit right into the family,” Hamilton lineman Casey Tucker said. “He has been a big part in our season and we are thankful to have him.”
Walters showed his thanks with a workmanlike effort as Hamilton’s ball control limited Mountain Pointe to only 12 offensive snaps in the first half as the Huskies built a 17-0 halftime lead.
“Our defense, we weren’t able to put up stops,” Mountain Pointe lineman Natrell Curtis said.
As Walters celebrated the state title, he was just grateful to be back on the field and, this time, the winning side.
“Being at Hamilton is great,” Walters said. “I’m glad I came to this program.”